Updated: Nigeria recovers N19.7bn electricity debts from Benin, Niger
by ISAAC ANYAOGU
November 15, 2017 | 12:13 am| | | Start Conversation
Nigeria has recovered the sum of $64,630,055 (N19.712bn at the official exchange rate of N305) from its international customers in Benin Republic and Republic of Niger for electricity supplied according to Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing.
This leaves an outstanding amount of $51.28million from the total debt of $115.91m.
Fashola, in his remarks at the 21st monthly power sector operators meeting held in Asaba, Delta state yesterday, said the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader, (NBET) will work out the modalities for distribution of the funds.
In August, NBET and the Transmission Company of Nigeria jointly wrote to the power firms of the two countries demanding the payment of an outstanding $115.91m (about N35.4bn) for electricity supplied to them from Nigeria.
The outstanding amounts owed by Community Electric du Benin (CEB) amounted to $101.46m; and NIGELEC of the Republic of Niger was $14.45m, according to the memo, which urged them to settle their obligations or risk being cut off from electricity supply.
Power supply to these two countries is being executed through the Federal Government wholly owned agencies, the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The protracted debts have hampered the operation of GenCos and have impeded grid expansion efforts by TCN.
Nigeria sells electricity to these countries in exchange for a guarantee that they won’t dam the rivers that sustain Kainji Dam.
Speaking on the industry activities within the last month, Fashola said the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) expanded transmission capacity in Zaria, Kaduna State and Funtua, Katsina State by adding 40 and 60MVA transformers to the Transmission sub-station to increase the TCN capacity to transmit power in those areas.
“The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) completed consultation and issued the Regulations needed to guide the operations and implementation of the eligible customer declaration that I made, to increase our capacity to distribute power,” said Fashola.
“Rural Electrification Agency (REA) completed the guidelines for the operation of the rural electrification fund that will help vulnerable groups and communities gain access to funding to support their electricity development program.”
BusinessDay had earlier reported the REA has created a Renewable Energy Fund as part of its mandate to provide support and synergy for stakeholders in the sector.
“By way of explanation the Rural Electrification Fund was created by Section 88 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) of 2005 to promote support and provide rural electrification access,” said Fashola.
Applicants will be able to get a minimum amount of $10,000 (N3.5million) and a maximum amount of $300,000. (N106m) or 75 percent of project cost whichever is less to executive offgrid projects that will benefit the unserved and underserved in rural communities.
“The fund will provide a partial single payment capital subsidy and or technical assistance to eligible private Rural Power Developers, NGOs or communities to invest in options such as hybrid mini grids or solar home systems to scale up rural access to electricity,” said the minister.
An official of the REA had earlier told BusinessDay that for operators to benefit, they must show proof that they are introducing new and improved technological infrastructure, have data to support their claims and show studies that indicate that their systems, in the case of hydro, would not be hampered by weather elements.
The REA says it will soon publish comprehensive details of guidelines and eligibility.
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